Monday, July 6, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 6, 2015

* Brazil: Brazil’s government attempted to downplay new revelations from Wikileaks of U.S. surveillance on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and other officials.

* Ecuador: Pope Francis arrived at the Ecuadoran city of Guayaquil on the first full day of his official visit to three South American countries.

* Mexico: The Greek financial crisis has spurred Mexico’s currency to hit a “record low” 15.86 pesos per U.S. dollar in trading this morning.

* Colombia: Ovidio Gonzalez, a 79-year-old affected by an incurable cancer, became the first Colombian to die legally via euthanasia last week.

YouTube Source – CCTV News

Online Sources – Zee News, CNN, Reuters, Christian Post

Friday, July 3, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 3, 2015

* Colombia: The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime found that coca cultivation in Colombia increased by 44% in 2014.

* Brazil: The Brazilian Congress rejected a bill that would have allowed criminals as young as 16 to be tried as adults and potentially sent to overcrowded adult prisons.

* Venezuela: The Spanish government will seek from Venezuela the extradition of a convicted member of Basque separatist group ETA.

* Mexico: Human rights investigators accused the Mexican army of the extrajudicial killings of drug gang suspects including twenty-two people in Tlatlaya last year.

YouTube Source – AFP

Online Sources – BBC News, teleSUR English, ABC News, ABC Online

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 2, 2015

* Cuba: U.S. President Barack Obama called on Congress to drop the trade embargo against Cuba as both countries fully reestablished diplomatic ties for the first time since 1961.

* Mexico: Mexican Supreme Court judge Olga Sanchez urged legislature in 29 of the 31 states banning gay marriage to overturn their restrictions.

* Venezuela: Venezuelan and U.S. representatives have reportedly undergone “quiet” negotiations since March in order to improve years of bitter relations.

* Argentina: Are comparisons between the current financial quagmire in Greece and Argentina's default in 2001 constructive or inappropriate

YouTube Source – Associated Press

Online Sources – Bloomberg, The Guardian, BBC News, Reuters

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Daily Headlines: July 1, 2015

* Mexico: The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights accused the Mexican government of acting too slowly in the investigation over forty-three Ayotzinapa university students missing since last September.

* Brazil: The presidents of Brazil and the U.S. met at the White House two years after a diplomatic rift over U.S. intelligence surveillance on the South American country.

* El Salvador: The Chalatenango region may be immune from most of the modern-day violence in El Salvador but the scars still remain from the country’s brutal civil war.

* South America: Chile will be seeking its first Copa America title against an Argentine side that walloped Paraguay 6-1 in their semifinal match last night.

YouTube Source – teleSUR English

Online Sources – Fox News Latino, New Scientist, The Latin Americanist, PRI, CNN

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Puerto Rico's Governor Gets Key Support for Strategy Against Debt

Puerto Rican political and business leaders gave their support to austerity measures proposed by the debt-ridden commonwealth’s governor in order to prevent default.

“There must be a better environment in Puerto Rico if we want to promote job creation and have more laborers and salaried employees,” said local Chamber of Commerce president José Izquierdo Encarnación following a meeting with Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla on Tuesday.

He and other business group representatives proposed creating a special fiscal control board and labor reforms as part of Garcia Padilla’s five-year plan to attempt to reign in Puerto Rico's $73 million debt. Izquierdo Encarnación and company gave their backing to the governor’s idea for reinvesting savings in bond payments into “strategic” projects for economic development.

“(Garcia Padilla) is seeking support from the private sector to those suggestions made in the report by (ex-World Bank Chief Economist) Anne Krueger that are vital such as economic growth,” he emphasized.

In a separate set of discussions, the heads of Puerto Rico’s main political parties gave their conditional support to Garcia Padilla yet with numerous conditions. Partido Nuevo Progresista head Pedro Pierluisi called for the participation of the opposition in the government’s decision-making process. Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño chief Rubén Berríos Martínez, meanwhile, blasted the “neoliberal package” outlined by Krueger.

In a televised speech Monday evening, Garcia Padilla warned that the island’s massive debt is unpayable and proposed seeking a multi-year moratorium on debt repayment while austerity measures can go into effect.  He also urged Congress to change existing laws and allow Puerto Rico to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy after the White House rejected a potential bailout.

Daily Headlines: June 30, 2015

* Latin America: Pope Francis expressed enthusiasm for his planned visit to three South American countries next month, while the Vatican released details of the Argentine-born pontiff’s trips to the U.S. and Cuba in September.

* U.S.: The U.S. has surpassed Spain to become the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking country according to a new study from the Instituto Cervantes.

* Argentina: British officials slammed the Argentine government after a judge ruled against foreign oil firms drilling near the disputed Falkland Islands.

* Colombia: “Equality is unstoppable and equality also will come to Colombia,” declared Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo as he called on the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriages.

YouTube Source – teleSUR English

Online Sources – Catholic Culture, NBC News, The Guardian, Reuters, Washington Post

Monday, June 29, 2015

Daily Headlines: June 29, 2015

* Latin America: A recent study found a shift in migration flow between 2007 and 2012 with more Europeans leaving their countries for Latin America rather than vice versa.

* Guatemala: Several hundred protesters gathered once again in Guatemala City and called for the resignation of scandal-plagued President Otto Perez Molina.

* Chile: Copa America host nation Chile will face Peru tonight in the semifinals amid controversy over the suspended Gonzalo Jara, while Paraguay will hope to shock Argentina in the other match on Tuesday .

* Cuba: Cuban scientists claimed to have successfully developed a new oral vaccine against cholera, a bacterial disease that is the cause of death for 100,000 to 120,000 people globally according to the World Health Organization.

YouTube Source – euronews (Video uploaded in June 2014).

Online Sources – Global Voices Online, The Latin Americanist, Fox News Latino, Yahoo Sports, Xinhua

Friday, June 26, 2015

Daily Headlines: June 26, 2015

* U.S.: New Census Bureau data revealed that the U.S. Hispanic population increased to 55.4 million people last year with growth seen in nearly all states.

* Argentina: An Argentine court confirmed the indictment against Vice President Amado Boudou on charges of bribery and conflict of interest while investigators are looking into allegations of embezzlement.

* Venezuela: A Brazilian government delegation traveled to Venezuela in order to promote dialogue and calm political tensions between officials and the opposition.

* Cuba: The U.S. State Department denounced human rights abuses in Cuba including harassment against dissidents, restricting Internet access and the government’s control of the media.

YouTube Source – The Economist (“The city’s Latino population has grown 13-fold since 1990, making it one of the fastest growing Hispanic cities in America and a harbinger of the country’s changing demography.”)

Online Sources – Latin American Herald Tribune, MercoPress, Reuters, BBC News

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Daily Headlines: June 25, 2015

* Argentina: Numerous commemorative events were held in Buenos Aires yesterday on the eightieth anniversary of the death of tango legend Carlos Gardel.

* Paraguay: Doctors in Paraguay allegedly plan to induce into labor a pregnant eleven-year-old girl raped by her stepfather and whose appeal for an abortion was denied by health officials.

* Chile: A late strike from Mauricio Isla was enough for host country Chile to eliminate defending titleholders Uruguay in the quarterfinals of the Copa America.

* Panama: Reactions among Panamanians were reportedly mixed following former strongman Manuel Noriega publicly asking forgiveness to those “offended, affected, injured or humiliated” during his rule.

YouTube Source – user fandegardel

Online Sources – The Guardian, Fox News Latino, BBC Sport, The Telegraph, The Latin Americanist

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Daily Headlines: June 24, 2015

* Brazil: A new report found that Brazil has the world’s fourth-largest prison population with some 607,730 inmates crammed in correctional facilities built for about 377,000 detainees.

* Peru: Investigators found the remains of 17 people in a mass grave who may have been killed in the 1980s during the armed conflict between the Peruvian government and the Shining Path guerillas.

* Puerto Rico: The executive director of Puerto Rico’s Electric Energy Authority. which is over $9 billion in debt, resigned on Tuesday.

* Colombia: U.S. justice officials announced charges related to drug trafficking against seventeen members of Colombia’s Clan Usuga criminal gang.

YouTube Source – CCTV America 

Online Sources – BBC News, Reuters, Fox News Latino, ABC News

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Guatemalan Poll Respondents Urge President to Quit

A recently released poll indicated the mounting pressure against embattled Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina to resign from his office.

According to Guatemala's Prensa Libre daily on June 20th, 84% of poll respondents replied “yes” to the question “Do you believe Otto Pérez Molina supports a corrupt system and should resign?”  Only 6% answered in the negative while 10% admitted, “I don’t know.”

In addition, 86% of those surveyed believed that the legislature couldn’t be trusted to enact reforms regarding political parties and upcoming elections.

The poll was carried out on June 16th by members of the #HagámonosElParo youth movement who asked questions to car drivers waiting at intersections in Guatemala City.

Only 1397 people were polled despite plans to inquire 15,000 respondents, which is a small sample size. Nevertheless, mass protests have been held every weekend throughout Guatemala for the past nine weeks against Pérez Molina who has been battling a growing corruption scandal involving members of his government.

On May 16th, for instance, thousands of Guatemalans marched in street protests in thirteen cities nationwide organized via social media networks. Tens of thousands of Guatemalans purportedly from different social, economic and political classes rallied near the National Palace earlier this month.

“The protests are like a democratic spring where the people have taken to the streets to demand many things,” affirmed one of the marchers, Pedro Cruz.  “I have seen the people awaken.”

A smaller rally took place this past Saturday in Guatemala City though one of the participants was Oswaldo Ochoa, a 62-year-old who trekked 125 miles in six days while also undergoing a hunger strike.

Daily Headlines: June 23, 2015

* Panama: The expansion of the Panama Canal is about 90% complete after engineers this week began filled water on the Pacific locks of the project.

* Latin America: The number of billionaires in Latin America increased by 38% last year, which was more than any other region in the world.

* Brazil: A pair of Singaporean shipbuilders could be involved in a widening corruption scandal involving Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras.

* Venezuela: Facing mounting pressure from international observers and opposition activists, Venezuelan electoral officials set December 6th as the date for the country’s congressional vote.

YouTube Source – Financial Times (Video uploaded in March 2015).

Online Sources – American Journal of Transportation, Bloomberg, Voice of America, teleSUR English

Monday, June 22, 2015

Daily Headlines: June 22, 2015

* Venezuela: Approximately 400 people protested in Caracas on Saturday and called for the liberation of imprisoned Venezuelan opposition activists such as Leopoldo Lopez.

* Argentina: Outgoing president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner ruled out running for a seat in the Argentine legislature but “she has set up supporters in key candidacies for the primaries in which 13 presidential hopefuls are participating.”

* Brazil: Corruption scandals and a floundering economy could explain why poll results published on Sunday showed Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s approval rating has reached a record low of 10%.

* Cuba: Venezuelan National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello revealed photos purportedly of him and former Cuban leader Fidel Castro at a meeting in Havana over the weekend.

YouTube Source – euronews

Online Sources – Yahoo News, Fox News Latino, NASDAQ, teleSUR English

Friday, June 19, 2015

Daily Headlines: June 19, 2015

* Brazil: Police arrested twelve individuals including the head Latin America's largest engineering and construction company as part of a corruption probe at state-run oil firm Petrobras.

* Bolivia: The Bolivian government announced plans for oil exploration at eight national parks and the finding of the first domestic oilfield since 1992.

* Mexico: Mexico's Southern Border Program has been credited as the main cause behind the deportation of nearly 93,000 migrants between October 2014 and April 2015.

* Colombia: A new U.N. study found that Colombia has the world’s second highest number of refugees and individuals displaced by armed conflict.

YouTube Source – CCTV America

Online Sources – Reuters, Fox News Latino, U.S. News and World Report, The Miami Herald

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Daily Headlines: June 18, 2015

* Puerto Rico: Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla admitted that he considered seeking Congressional approval to declare bankruptcy for Puerto Rico but instead decided that it “would have been less than impossible to obtain approval for such a measure.”

* South America: Colombia men’s national soccer team broke a 24-year-long winless streak against Brazil, while the female sides from both countries made it through to the Round of 16 at the Women’s World Cup.

* Cuba: Twitter execs are planning to expand service to Cuba despite the poor communications infrastructure on the island.

* Vatican: Pope Francis urged developed countries to take stronger actions against climate change, advocated phasing out fossil fuel usage and rejected population control as a tool to protect the environment.

YouTube Source – Monocle Magazine

Online Sources –, Politico, BBC Sport, The Guardian, Fox News Latino

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Brazilian Women’s Soccer Chief Focused on Looks, Not Talent

Brazil is one of the favorites to win the Women’s World Cup (WWC) currently taking place, and the team has excelled to a perfect two wins in two matches in group play. Yet for Brazil’s top women’s soccer official, Marco Aurelio Cunha, the talent on the field doesn’t matter as long as the players look pretty for the spectators.

 “Now the women are getting more beautiful, putting on make-up. They go in the field in an elegant manner,” Cunha said in a June 14th article from Canada’s The Globe and Mail. “Women’s football used to copy men’s football. Even the jersey model, it was more masculine. We used to dress the girls as boys. So the team lacked a spirit of elegance, femininity. Now the shorts are a bit shorter, the hairstyles are more done up. It’s not a woman dressed as a man.”

Cunha later claimed his comments were taken out of context and were not meant to sound chauvinist.

His remarks appeared as part of a news piece calling attention to how women’s soccer has been largely ignored in Brazil. Sadly this has been the case in the case of most Latin American nations whose women’s teams are participating at this year’s WWC.

Take the case of Colombia, which shocked France last Saturday in one of the biggest upsets in WWC history but is the only South American country without a female national soccer league.  Ecuadoran columnist Alejandro Ribadeneira, meanwhile, bemoaned the local press for generally ignoring the women’s national team despite La Tri qualifying to the tournament for the first time.

Rather than emphasizing appearances, national soccer federation leaders like Cunha perhaps should reflect inward and provide greater support to promoting and nurturing players. Last month Mexican soccer officials announced the launch of two new ladies youth competitions that will begin playing in September.

“The CBF (Brazilian soccer federation) doesn’t give a damn,” said Fernando Ferreira, the head of Brazil’s leading sports-development consultancy firm. The CBF has recently announced a $15 million investment in the women’s game yet Helena Pacheco, the former coach of Brazilian soccer star Marta, noted that the federation and affiliated soccer clubs must do more: